‘THE OBJECT of the training of the horse is to make him obedient and submissive to the rider’s will. The object of training for the rider is to give him the physical and mental proficiency to be able to understand his partner, to execute with him all movements, to be able to follow them with skill and power, and to be able to resist them if necessary.
The best trained horse would be useless without a potential rider. A well-trained horse will certainly be an excellent hack, but in this case the activities of the rider will be no more then those of a passenger. Both horse and rider must contribute an equal share to the work of art which is the goal. Even when presenting a fully trained horse, a rider must have considerable knowledge and experience. How much more he will require to train an untrained horse, and still more to retrain a badly trained one.’
Words from my notebook back in 2006 when I was a hired working rider and like a spunch to water for everything art of riding. And with this I’m summing up a really lovely weekend teaching all sorts of horses around Stockholm! <3
Photo of myself on Lucky and our dear colleague and GP rider Emily Ward on Dax. All wearing Equestrian Stockholm.
A FEW BITS of importance I find about the flying change here: Any attempt to teach a horse the flying change should wait until the horse has gained sufficient physical strength, the hind legs are strong enough to spring actively off the ground and stay in balance, as the change takes place in the moment of suspension. The horse should work confidently with regular and distinctly marked bounds, in the regular canter work, through the corners, in the counter canter, in the transitions from walk, trot, as well as through the simple changes (without anticipation!).
When ready to try the flying changes: the aid is exactly the same as the strike off on the other leg, and must be done without reducing the canter to a lower speed. The horse should follow the accustomed legs and shifting of the riders weight (which shouldn’t be visible) on the first attempt (as it’s on the aids since not being allowed to anticipate in the earlier stages of training). If the horse changes correctly it should be awarded with walk on a long rein. If it fails the rider must take it back to go through the preparation work, with no sign of punishment. If you punish a horse for not doing the change correctly you make life a lot harder for future training as it’s dependent on confidence.
LOVE WHEN technology can helps our ponies, and the Swedish company HoofStep® are creating a GENUIS product that alerts you if your horse needs attention. I know a lot of stables here in UK as well where the horses are unobserved day time, and this little clever head piece, HoofStep®, connects you with your horse even when you’re away! It lets you know what your horse is doing and where and if something is wrong. Without using cameras. When the unexpected happens; indications of colic, stallion in the wrong field, laminitis, foaling, stress, activity levels, or pain, HoofStep® alerts you or your friends, so that you can communicate and take action.
Please help those genius people through their Kickstarter campaign HERE.
THE EASIEST way to teach a horse the half pass is to begin with a circle back, and half pass. This allows the the horse to start at a shorter line then center line to long side, or as later on, long side to long side. In the circle back the most important aid is the riders inside leg, which makes sure the horse goes forward, and is responsible for correct bend. Going into the half pass the riders outside aids interrupts the circle, making it step sideways, and lead the horse back on the bent line to the wall from which we started. We make sure the neck is not bent more then the whole body, as too dramatic neck bend hinders elasticity, fluency and freedom of the horses’ legs. As in all lateral work, except the shoulder in, the riders weight should be shifted into the direction of the movement, and the inside leg well pressed down. To start a half pass from the wall or center line you start in a shoulder-in (putting the horse’s forehand on the line of travel or pointing the shoulders to the letter where you want to arrive), then putting your weight to the inside and bringing the horse over with your weight and the outside leg. (Starting from a circle gives you that shoulder in for free).
When riding the half pass at competition the judes normally looks at: 1.Willingness. That it seems the horse is happy and confident to displace his haunches and comes with a little ‘jump’ of enthusiasm into the half pass. Hopefully your judge prioritise willingness to perfect angle with resistance and lack of quality.
2. Consistency of angle. That the angle of the bend and point of travel doesn’t change.
3. Rider’s position. This is a good move to show the judge you’re making it easy for your horse to to the job. Weither you help your horse or are in his way in the half pass it will likely have an impact on the rider-effectiveness score in the Collective Marks.
4. Preparation. That the rider clearly prepare and start with the shoulder in. Not falling sideways the second the horse is on center line.l
5. Accuracy. That the combination start and end at the correct spots. Ending early does not give extra credits unfortunatly! The point is that the rider has control of the lateral movement as well as the forward impulsion and cadence.
6. The very important Cadence and submission to the bend. The well-executed half pass has lateral reach, elevation of the shoulders as well as a correct cadence and uphill balance.
JUST HOME from a couple days away at the National Championship semi finals with Firenze! & yeezus did she try as hard as she possibly could. She gave a better feel then we’ve ever had before, home and away counted!
Our ground work has had a huge impact on her mind and I especially notice it in her behaviour in new locations and under pressure she would’ve got tense in before. She was so confident, forward and with me riding the test, ending up just below a ticket to Nationals. I’m so proud of this young super girl. & of her new gears!
Hugely grateful to her owner Caroline Edgely for allowing me to keep her for this event to super trainer Sune Hansen and the team at Springhill. To my sister from another mister and super groom Tora Siren. And to Equestrian Stockholm, Stübben and Padoc & Pace for making us look, feel and preform at our best!
STARTING JUST earlier this year I’ve been working with European bronze medalist Claire Gallimore on World Cup Dressage Rider and Trainer Tristan Tucker’s ‘TRT Method’. It’s an incredible way of working the horses mentally, preparing them for the pressure that comes with performance, all about coordination and about how to manage stress and channel it into something positive. Teaching my horses those tools has been so incredible for their overall training. By teaching them what to do with themselves in times of stress or when they experience pressure, they themselves (!) can choose to release the tension that comes with it (be it from the wind, a scary umbrella, applauds, or difficult work) and they have gained confidence and coordination also in the ridden work. Described simply you can say that when they feel pressure they have a choice: lowering the head and stay supple in muscles, leaving them with a feeling of relaxation and control. Or, look out, tense up, and loose focus leaving them with a tense feeling inside. Whatever their choice is, it colours into how they behave when they feel pressure under the saddle.
Worth mentioning is that this is not the same as desensitisation, making them less sensitive, ‘cut off’, or loosing aliveness which we much required and appreciate for a higher level performance horse.
Firenze here feeling as prepared as she can, as we’re travelling to Regionals tmr! And I’m really excited about how she’s developed the past couple of month mixing our days of ridden training with more ground work.
Very grateful to Claire Gallimore & Tristan Tucker for this positive method and add to our training.
BEFORE I GIVE all my love to my horses, their absolutely amazing owners and every reader here, I just want to give a heads up for sel love. Love is a daily practice. Not just for Feb 14th. Every new day, we can remind ourselves that love is also an action as much as it is a feeling, & that it always starts with ourselves. When you love yourself you glow from the inside out. You attract healthy relationships, & beings who love, respect and appreciate your energy. Everything starts with how you feel about yourself. Practice to feel worthy, valuable and deserving of receiving the best life has to offer. My practice is a little meditation every morning or evening. And then, give it to everyone, animals and humans, around you.
THIS WEEKS competitions are done and I’m really proud of it! First out was my neighbour and dear client Ewa, and her horse Daisy, yesterday. About a year ago her goal was to one day canter Daisy. And maybe one day see me compete her. And maybe, but just maybe, she’d be able to do that too. & Hocus Pocus here we are, Ewa and Daisy doing their first competition together – And going home with a 3rd on 66%! Sometimes it’s more about our headspace and emotions, then the physical body, that holds us back. And the good news is, there are recipes for that too! As for everything. So happy to work with them.
Today it was Sarah De Martin’s big man Lucky’s turn. He’s not been out for about six month and, with his Jazzy head he needs some routine back in his bones. We’ve worked a lot with tension releasing ground work at home. And ah, I can not wait to tell you more about this fantastic topic. But that’s another post. Anyhow. It’s payed off and we’re home with a double win!
As always lots of love to Equestrian Stockholm, Stubben, Longines, Padoc & Pace for helping us look and feel at our best <3